No additional measures needed, says health minister

No additional measures needed, says health minister

No additional measures needed, says health minister


Turkey is closely following developments in the wake of the emergence of the new COVID-19 strain, Omicron, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said, adding that the current situation does not necessitate taking additional measures.

He recalled that Turkey immediately acted after the new variant was detected in the world and imposed travel bans on certain countries.

“No cases of the new strain have been found in Turkey. We are closely following the Omicron-related developments. For the time being, there is no situation which requires additional measures,” Koca said in a statement issued after a meeting of the Health Ministry’s Science Board, which advises the government on the pandemic.

The board also discussed the effectiveness of the vaccines against the new variant, according to the minister.

“Considering the fact that mixed vaccines are used in Turkey, we have an advantage here and data our ministry has collected suggest that the mixed use of the vaccines provide better protection,” he added.

Turkey has been giving both the Pfizer/BioNTech jab and the Chinese company Sinovac’s vaccine to its population. It offers the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine as booster shots to those who have already received the Sinovac’s jab.

Koca repeated that an application has been filed with authorities, seeking an approval for the emergency use of the locally developed vaccine Turkovac.

“Following the approval from the authority, Turkovac may be put in use by the end of the year,” Koca said.

He renewed calls for people to get fully vaccinated.

Earlier this week, Koca warned that up to 5.2 million people have skipped their appointments to get their second doses of the jab, adding that fewer than expected people have been given the third doses.

Turkey has administered more than 120 million doses of the COVID-19 jabs since it started the inoculation drive in mid-January.

Well over 50 million people have been double jabbed, which correspond to 81 percent of the adult population.

According to data from the health minister, more than 56 million people, or some 91 percent of the population aged 18 and above, have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Additionally, 12.2 million people have been given their thirds doses of the jab.

The number of daily COVID-19 cases in the country, which hit record highs in April, has been lower than 30,000 since late October but the death toll remains above 200.